Media and Social Change: CTCS 585
Instructors: Profs. Curtis Marez and Doe Mayer
University of Southern California, Spring 2005
The class, international in scope, will examine the relationship between media and social change. We will ask whether media can, in fact, change society at all, whether those changes are controllable by the artist/producer, the audience or the state. We will ask whether these changes can backfire or produce unexpected results.
One goal will be to analyze the interrelations among the different social actors who use media in order to effect change (or ward it off). The relevant actors include state powers, corporate interests, non-governmental organizations, various social movements, and different artists and independent media producers. Much of the course concentrates on concrete cases where media makers have attempted to intervene in the process of social change. And although the issues they raise are many and varied, our case studies tend to involve media struggles over the politics of gender, race, sexuality, class, and imperialism.
Finally, class assignments focus on local contexts that are nonetheless complexly related to global dynamics, including transnational movements of people, capital, armies, and of course media.
Ideally this plan of study will provide rich resources for critical reflection and creation, and so final projects may take the form of a critical essay, a media production, or some hybrid of the two.
This course can meet a requirement for students in Production, Critical Studies, American Studies and the Annenberg School.
Ferreira, Eleonora Castaño and Ferreira, Joáo Paulo Castaño. Making Sense of the Media: A Handbook of Popular Education Techniques. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997. ISBN: 0-85345-880-4.
García Canclini, Néstor. Consumers and Citizens: Globalization and Multicultural Conflicts. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. ISBN: 0-8166-2987-0
McCaughey, Martha, and Dayers, Michael. Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge Press, 2002. ISBN: 0415943205.
McGirr, Lisa. Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right. Princeton University Press, 2002. ISBN 0691096112.
Patton, Cindy. Globalizing AIDS. University of Minnesota Press, 2002. ISBN 0816632.
Rius. Marx for Beginners. New York: Panthon, 2003. ISBN: 0375714618.
Singhal, Arvind, Cody, Michael, Rogers, Everett, and Sabido, Miguel eds.
Entertainment Education and Social Change: History Research & Practice. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003. ISBN: 0-80583-3501.
Explore different approaches to media and social change.
Reflect on your own goals and ideas in this area.
Understand more fully the relationships among relevant actors including state powers, corporate interests, NGOs, various social movements, and artists and independent media producers.
Consider the ideological, ethical and political implications of media production and analysis.
Jan 10 Introduction: Can media change attitude and behavior or are we just kidding ourselves? How has Hollywood traditionally approached issues of social change? How has the topic been important in your personal experiences?
Screening: Network (1976)
Jan 24 From the Popular Front to the Cold War and Beyond: The History of Cultural Politics in the US
Michael Denning, "Ballads for Americans: Aesthetic Ideologies," The Cultural Front (OL)
CLR James, "Popular Arts and Modern Society," American Civilization (OL)
Michael Wallerstein, selections from The Decline of American Power (OL)
Lorence, "Chance Meeting and the Birth of an Idea: Origins of Salt of the Earth," The Suppression of Salt of the Earth (OL)
Screening: Salt of the Earth
Jan 31 Audiences and Public Spheres
Stuart Hall, "The Toad in the Garden" (OL)
Néstor García Canclini, selections Consumers and Citizens: Globalization and Multicultural Conflicts
Guest Speaker: John Carlos Frey, activist and director of Gatekeeper
Feb 7 Third Cinema and Subaltern Studies
Randal Johnson and Robert Stam, selections, Brazilian Cinema (on reserve)
Lucia Nagib, selections from New Brazilian Cinema (OL)
John Beverly, introduction, Subalternity and Representation (OL)
Lutkehaus, Nancy & Cool, Jenny, "Paradigms Lost and Found: The 'Crisis of Representation' and Visual Anthropology" Collecting Visible Evidence, Gaines, Jane & Renov, Michael, Eds. (OL)
Screening: City of God
Feb 14 Ethics, Values, Power and Propaganda
Amitava Kumar, introduction, World Bank Literature (OL)
Vijay Prashad, "Debt," Keeping Up with the Dow Joneses: Debt, Prison, Workfare (OL)
Dick Hebdige, Cut 'N' Mix (on reserve, Leavy)
Screenings: Life and Debt, Zapatista and Storm from the Mountain
Feb 28 Comics, Posters, and Other Graphic Arts
Ferreira and Ferreira, Making Sense of the Media
Ruis, Marx for Beginners
Carol Wells, "LA at the Center of the Edge," and "Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia," (OL)
Guest Speaker: Carol Wells, founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics
March 7 Activist Media and New Technology
Martha McCaughey and Michael Dayers, Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice
"Tropical America" video game
Interview with Marsha Kinder about "Runaways" video game, From Barbie to Mortal Combat (OL)
Video games and the "mod" movement, "Patched In: A Conversation with Anne-Marie Schleiner about Computer Gaming Culture"
Screening: Showdown in Seattle (1999), recent election programming?
March 21 Communication Campaigns for Social Change: How are they designed and how do they work?
National Cancer Institute pink book
Entertainment Education and Social Change, Chapter 5
Guttman, Narit, "Beyond Strategic Research: A Value Centered Approach to Health Communication Interventions" (OL)
Screening: Project Action: PCI, Sri Lanka Film, JHU material
March 28 Feminist Strategies: The Women of Juarez
Special issue of Aztlan on the disappearance of women in Juarez (on reserve)
Melissa W. Wright, "The Dialectics of Still Life: Murder, Women, and Maquiladoras" (OL)
P. Zimmerman, "The Female Body Wars: Reproductive Politics and Activist Video," Socialist Review 22:2:1993 (OL)
Screenings: Devil Never Sleeps, Senorita Extraviada
April 4 Health and Media Politics
Cindy Patton, Globalizing AIDS
Entertainment Education and Social Change, pgs. 1-60
Screenings: Tongues Untied, Soul City, Dianna's Hair Ego
April 11 Right Wing Media
Melanie McAlister, "The Good Fight: Israel After Vietnam, 1972-1980," Epic Encounters (OL)
McGirr, Suburban Warriors
Screening: The Passion of the Christ
April 18 Entertainment Media Advocacy
Wallack, Lawrence, Dorfman, Lori, Jernigan, David and Themba, Makani, Media Advocacy and Public Health, 1993, Chaps 1, 2 & 4 (on reserve)
April 25 Final presentation of projects and papers
This year's theme, "Storytelling across Platforms," focuses on today's evolving media world...
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Alyce Myatt, Executive Director of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media; Jessica Clark, Director...